WA man charged with ordering live-distance child abuse

Child_Exploitation

This is a joint media release between the Australian Federal Police and Western Australia Police Force

A 70-year-old man who allegedly ordered live-distance child abuse from the Philippines is expected to appear in Geraldton Magistrates Court today (15 April 2021), charged by the Western Australia Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team with 68 offences.

The man is accused of making more than 860 payments to multiple entities in the Philippines for purposes including to procure children to be sexually abused, with this abuse allegedly committed on camera for him to watch live from his home in WA’s Mid-West.

Records allegedly show the man sent more than $443,000 overseas but it is still being assessed how much was allegedly spent on child abuse material.

WA JACET, which comprises Australian Federal Police and WA Police Force members, first arrested and charged the 70-year-old in September 2020 after he was allegedly identified from financial data collected during a separate child protection investigation in South Australia.

When officers searched the man’s Geraldton home on 21 September (2020), they allegedly found child abuse material on two devices and records of Skype chats that were allegedly consistent with the procurement of children for live-distance child abuse.

The man was charged with two counts of possessing child abuse material obtained through a carriage service. He was placed on bail with strict conditions that included not to access the internet except for banking, legal or employment purposes; not to access social media and no unsupervised access to children.

Further inquiries and digital analysis of seized devices resulted in WA JACET arresting the man at his home yesterday (14 April 2021) and charging him with 68 offences relating to the alleged live-distance child abuse.

The man was refused bail to face court today. The charges are: 

  • 39 counts of engaging in sexual activity with a child outside Australia, contrary to section 272.9(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth);
  • Seven counts of procuring a child outside Australia for sexual activity, contrary to section 272.14 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth);
  • 12 counts of using a carriage service to access child pornography material, contrary to section 474.19 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth); (previous legislation)
  • Six counts of using a carriage service to solicit child pornography material, contrary to section 474.19 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth); (previous legislation)
  • Four counts of using a carriage service to procure a child for sexual activity, contrary to section 474.26(1) Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

The maximum penalties for these offences range up to 20 years’ imprisonment.

WA JACET is liaising with AFP officers in Manila and Philippine authorities to identify child victims and remove them from harm and identify any alleged child abuse facilitators.

AFP Acting Inspector Joel Van Den Brun said child sex offenders are not restricted by national or international borders – but neither is law enforcement.

“We work closely with partners around the globe to to bring to justice anyone who preys on children, no matter where in the world they are hiding,” Acting Inspector Joel Van Den Brun said.

Members of the public who have any information about people involved in child abuse and exploitation are urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report it online.

Advice and support for parents and carers about how they can help protection children online can be found at ThinkUKnow, an AFP-led education program designed to prevent online child sexual exploitation.

Note to media:

Use of term ‘CHILD ABUSE’ MATERIAL NOT ‘CHILD PORNOGRAPHY’

The correct legal term is Child Abuse Material – the move to this wording was among amendments to Commonwealth legislation in 2019 to more accurately reflect the gravity of the crimes and the harm inflicted on victims.

Use of the phrase "child pornography" is inaccurate and benefits child sex abusers because it:

  • indicates legitimacy and compliance on the part of the victim and therefore legality on the part of the abuser; and
  • conjures images of children posing in 'provocative' positions, rather than suffering horrific abuse.

Every photograph or video captures an actual situation where a child has been abused.

Media enquiries

AFP Media: (02) 5126 9297

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Read the AFP Annual Report 2019-20

The Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation

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